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July 15, 1979 – New York Cosmos vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

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Gerd Muller Fort Lauderdale StrikersNew York Cosmos vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
July 15, 1979
Giants Stadium
Attendance: 48,753

North American Soccer League Programs
112 pages


This was a wild one at the Meadowlands in the summer of ’79.  The 48,753 soccer fans witnessed one of the most violent, out of control matches in the history of the North American Soccer League.  The occasion was a meeting between two of the league’s elite – the New York Cosmos (16-5) and the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps (13-8).  The previous season the two clubs finished the regular season with identical 24-6 records, tying each other for the best record in the history of the league.  The Cosmos won the Soccer Bowl championship in 1978, but it was the Whitecaps who had the best of the club’s head-to-head series, winning four of five contests dating back to Vancouver’s formation in 1974

The Cosmos seemed to come into the match in a nasty temperament.  Just a week earlier, the club made headlines for fighting with their own custodial workers during a practice session at Giants Stadium.  The match got physical from the get go, and the Whitecaps were willing adversaries.  Referee Keith Styles blew 48 fouls in the match, including 29 on the Whitecaps.   But at the first intermission, the only scoring action was an own goal by New York’s Carlos Alberto six minutes in, which gave the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead.

The scoring broke open early in the second half.  Vancouver’s Kevin Hector beat Cosmos goalkeeper Erol Yasin in the 48th minute.  New York halved the deficit in the 60th minute on a free kick that saw Franz Beckenbauer set up Dutch international Johan Neeskens.  But the Whitecaps extended their lead to 3-1 less than three minutes later on a goal from English midfielder Ray Lewington.  In the 70th minute Giorgio Chinaglia scored his 23rd goal of the season on a tap in from Dennis Tueart to make it 3-2.

The lid came off the match just over a minute later, when Vancouver’s Willie Johnston collided with New York’s Andranik Eskandarian in the Cosmos’ box.  The two ended up trading punches on the artificial turf.  Chinaglia rushed into fray and was clocked in the eye by the Whitecaps’ John Craven who had entered the match as a sub just a minute earlier.  Both benches poured onto the field.  The brawl appeared to catch Giants Stadium security off guard and continued for fourteen minutes, spilling from one end of the field to the other.  Retired Cosmos legend Pele, of all people, charged the field looking to get a piece of Vancouver keeper Phil Parkes.  A fan vaulted from the grandstand to go after referee Keith Styles.  When order was finally restored, Vancouver’s Craven and Johnston were ejected, along with Chinaglia and Eskandarian for the Cosmos.  The club’s finished the final 18 minutes of the match in a rare 9-on-9 format.  The ‘Caps added an insurance goal for a final score of 4-2 – the Cosmos worst home defeat since moving to Giants Stadium in 1977.

Afterwards, Cosmos officials were apoplectic.  Warner Communications exec Jay Emmett charged the official’s locker after the match.  Executive Vice President Rafael de la Sierra painted conspiraced theories.  The bad feelings would continue two months later when the Cosmos and the ‘Caps met in the NASL’s semi-final playoff series to determine a berth in Soccer Bowl ’79.  In the first game of the series, Eskandarian got a red card with eight seconds remaining in the match and Carlos Alberto was banned for the remained of the season by NASL Commissioner Phil Woosnam for spitting at an official.  The Cosmos threatened a lawsuit, while the ‘Caps focused on soccer and beat the Cosmos in a thrilling three-game set.

On September 8, 1979, the Whitecaps returned to Giants Stadium and defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1 in Soccer Bowl ’79 to win their first and only NASL crown.  The Cosmos, who once again had the league’s best regular season mark of 24-6, watched from home.



July 15, 1979 New York Cosmos Game Notes



New York Cosmos Home Page


Written by AC

June 27th, 2014 at 1:34 pm

April 9, 1980 – Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. New York Cosmos

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Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. New York Cosmos
April 9, 1980
Lockhart Stadium
Attendance: 18,572

North American Soccer League Programs
112 pages


One of the all-time great matches in Fort Lauderdale Strikers history.  The Strikers hosted the mighty New York Cosmos at Lockhart Stadium in front of a near-sellout crowd in their third match of the 1980 North American Soccer League season.

The Strikers leaped out to a sudden 2-0 advantage, thanks to a pair of quick goals from Peruvian World Cup star Teofilo Cubillas in the 6th and 7th minutes. Francisco Marinho, who played for the Cosmos in 1979, set up both of Cubillas’ first half goals.  In the 2nd half, it was Cubillas and Marinho again, with Cubillas getting his third of the night for a hat trick in the 51st minute and Marinho adding the coup de grace in 87th en route to a resounding 4-1 victory.

On the other end of the field, Strikers defender Ken Fogarty frustrated New York’s star striker Giorgio Chinaglia for most of the night, holding the NASL’s all-time leading scorer off the scoring sheet until it no longer mattered. Chinaglia got his first goal of the 1980 season in the 80th minute when it no longer mattered, but it kept the Cosmos from suffering a shutout.

What was otherwise a great night for soccer in Fort Lauderdale was marred late in the final minute of the match when a fan leapt over a field barrier and assaulted Iranian-born Cosmos defender Andranik Eskandarian.  The U.S. was in the thick of the Iranian hostage crisis at the time.  Chinaglia got a few kicks in at the attacker before he was lead away by police.  Eskandarian was dazed but unhurt.

After the match, Cosmos players and coaches spoke highly of the Strikers effort.

“If they play with the guts they played with tonight, they’ll be in the Soccer Bowl,” Cosmos technical director Julio Mazzei told Hal Habib of The Miami Herald.

Franz Beckenbauer agreed.  “If they always play like tonight, they’ll have a good chance to win the championship.”

Mazzei and Beckenbauer were right.  This match turned out to be a preview of the Soccer Bowl ’80 championship match, played five months later before 50,000 fans in Washington D.C.   But the Cosmos would flip the script in the Soccer Bowl, taking apart the Strikers with a decisive 3-0 victory.

Bob Lenarduzzi of the Vancouver Whitecaps was pictured on the cover of the evening’s KICK Magazine match program.



April 9, 1980 Fort Lauderdale Strikers Game Notes

April 9, 1980 New York Cosmos Game  Notes


==Additional Sources==

“Cosmos Expect To Get Better”, Hal Habib, The Miami Herald, April 10, 1980

“Cosmos Lost It, Fan Attacks Player”, Ike Kuhns, The Newark-Star Ledger, April 10, 1980



New York Cosmos Home Page



June 28, 1981 – Chicago Sting vs. New York Cosmos


Chicago Sting vs. New York Cosmos
June 28, 1981
Wrigley Field
Attendance: 30,501

North American Soccer League Programs
112 pages


This match was considered by some observers to be the most exciting game ever played in the old North American Soccer League (1968-1984).  It also turned out to be a preview of the Soccer Bowl ’81 championship match between the Chicago Sting and the New York Cosmos.

A franchise record crowd of 30,501 came out to Wrigley Field on sunny, 89-degree afternoon to see the Sting (11-7) face the NASL’s defending champions from New York (15-5).  The Sting had the Cosmos’ number in these years, winning five of their six previous meetings.  And they got off to a fast start here, with Ingo Peter and Dave Huson staking Chicago to a 2-0 lead after 25 minutes.

But the Cosmos fought back to tie later in the first half on goals from Giorgio Chinaglia and Julio Cesar Romero.  It was the first of two times the Cosmos would claw back from two goals down that afternoon.  Charlie Fajkus scored in the 43rd minute to give the Sting a 3-2 lead at the half.

The blistering pace continued in the second half.  Arno Steffenhagen gave Chicago a 4-2 margin in the 50th minute.  Once again it was Chinaglia (71st minute) and Romero (75th) that brought the Cosmos back to even.  Ingo Peter scored his second of the match to put the Sting up 5-4 in the 77th minute, but the Cosmos’ recently signed Yugoslav defender Ivan Buljan, playing his fourth game with the club, volleyed home the equalizer with 41 seconds left in regulation.

The first 10,000 fans received a hideous Chicago Sting Styrofoam visor courtesy of Ovaltine

After scoring 10 goals in regulation time, neither team could put one in the back of the net during two overtime periods.  The NASL was allergic to draws, so the match went to the league’s controversial “Shootout” tiebreaker.   In the shootout, six attackers from each side took turns dribbling in on goal from 35 yards out.  They had five seconds to get off a shot.  Seninho put the Cosmos in front, beating Chicago keeper Dieter Ferner, but none of New York’s other shooters could convert.  Huson and Rudy Glenn beat New York’s Hubert Birkenmeier to give Chicago a rousing 6-5 victory.

“It was a 5-5 game.  Everybody is going home happy but the Cosmos,” Chinaglia told Newark Star-Ledger beat writer Ike Kuhns afterwards.  “This was the most exciting soccer game they have seen in Chicago in a long time.  This was a pulpit and if this doesn’t sell soccer here I don’t know what will.”

The two clubs met again six months later for Soccer Bowl ’81 in Toronto.   During the festivities in the days before the match, the New York Cosmos PR department screened a short documentary on this June 28th match entitled The Greatest Game in NASL History.

The Sting would need the Shootout to defeat the Cosmos once again in Soccer Bowl ’81.   It was the only time the Cosmos ever lost a Soccer Bowl appearance in five appearances.



Thanks to Kenn Tomasch for passing along the YouTube link on this one…




June 28, 1981 Chicago Sting vs. New York Cosmos Games Notes

June 28, 1981 New York Cosmos at Chicago Sting Game Notes

1981 Chicago Sting Final Regular Season Statistics

1981 New York Cosmos Final Regular Season Statistics

The Greatest Game in NASL History Screening Announcement from Soccer Bowl ’81



==Additional Sources==

“Cosmos Stung Again by Sting in Shootout”, Ike Kuhns, The Newark-Star Ledger, June 29, 1981



August 9, 1980 – Seattle Sounders vs. New York Cosmos

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Seattle Sounders vs. New York Cosmos
August 9, 1980
The Kingdome
Attendance: 49,606

North American Soccer League Programs
78 pages


Two of the glamour teams of American professional soccer in the late 1970’s – the Seattle Sounders and the New York Cosmos – faced off in this August 1980 match at Seattle’s Kingdome.  The Sounders announced a crowd of 49,606 for the match – a number that, if true, would be the envy even of today’s wildly popular Major League Soccer reincarnation of the Sounders brand. Seattle fans would go home disappointed though.  Paraguayan striker Roberto Cabanas tallied the game’s only goal in the Cosmos’ 1-0 victory.

The North American Soccer League used a national magazine format for their game programs from the late 1970’s until its demise in 1984.  KICK Magazine was a wonderful, thick production, as hefty as any newsstand issue of Sports Illustrated at the time.  For this match, as was often the case with KICK, the cover art was not germaine to the two clubs playing the match.  This cover story on the NASL’s best midfielders showcased Peruvian World Cup great Teofilo Cubillas of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.





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